Despite Lance Armstrong ruling himself out of the Worlds in Australia next fall, race organisers haven’t given up on him competing. The seven-time Tour de France winner, who won the Worlds road race in 1993, said at his Team RadioShack training camp last week that the Worlds were not yet in his racing schedule.
“'The Worlds are an interesting idea,” Armstrong told Australian newspaper The Age. “Sitting here in December, it's easy to say ‘yes’, then you get through the Tour [de France] and you realise you have two more months and you have to go to Australia where the course isn't necessarily suited for you … to go to Melbourne would be super cool, but I have to guess I wouldn't be there.”
''Back in the old days, it used to be a month after the Tour,” he continued. ”When they moved it back to October I think it changed its importance on the international calendar.''
Even though the organisers are aware of Armstrong’s stance, they haven't counted him out entirely. ''At best it was always 50-50 in our mind that he may not ride. But it still remains to be seen,” said Michael Palmer, general manager of the organising committee.
“We're not closing the door and we've been talking on-and-off to his management. We'd certainly be keen to make sure he was here if we could, but obviously from a competitive perspective that's totally his decision.”
In other news, Armstrong was runner-up in the vote for the Athlete of the Decade. The honour, voted by writers of the Associated Press, went to golfer Tiger Woods. Swiss tennis player Roger Federer finished third.